What is Age Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, often call AMD, is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among people who are age 60 and older.  It is estimated that 10 million people will experience this disorder during their retirement years.  Macular degeneration is a disorder of the retina. The macula is a small central portion of the retina which is necessary for sharp “straight ahead” vision needed for reading, driving, or recognizing faces.

There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: Dry AMD, accounts for 80% of all cases of AMD, and Wet AMD, which occurs in the other 20% of cases.   Dry AMD is an early stage of the disorder and may result from aging and thinning of the macula.  Through a period of years, slow progression to late-stage atrophy can occur and can cause severe vision loss. With Wet AMD,  new abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid.  Eventually if left untreated, the process creates scarring and vision loss.

Risk factors for macular degeneration include:  Age; Hereditary; Smoking; and Hypertension.

No FDA-approved treatments are available for Dry AMD, although a few are now in clinical trials.  A clinical trial called Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) has produced strong evidence that certain nutrients such as beta carotene, Vitamin C and E, Lutein, and Omega 3-fatty acids may help to slow the progression of Dry AMD.  In Wet AMD, Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drugs such as Lucentis, Avastin, Macugen, and Eylea can be injected into the eye to cause the abnormal leaking blood vessels to stop bleeding or leaking.

At Katzen Eye Group we use the most cutting-edge technology and equipment to diagnose AMD.  Our philosophy is simple; we are here to use every possible tool to prevent AMD from stealing a person’s vision and independence.  Early detection and treatment can help you avoid severe vision loss. If you have any questions or want to request a consultation (click here) or please contact our Retina Department at 443-632-2886.

Latisse® for Longer Eyelashes

Would you like to be able to flutter your long, dark eyelashes? If you start today, you could be doing that in eight weeks and still be only half-way to your final exciting results.

Latisse is a fairly new product that we are now offering, FDA-approved for enhancing the eyelashes. It is easy to apply. It comes in a small bottle and with a supply of disposable applicators. Simply put one drop on a new applicator and draw it along the upper eyelid at the base of your eyelashes. Blot any excess, throw away the applicator, and repeat the process on the other eye with a fresh applicator.

Latisse works by extending the growth phase of the hair growth cycle and by stimulating each hair follicle to produce more than one lash. It also stimulates melanin production although exactly how it works is not fully understood. It is based on some of the eyedrops used for Glaucoma which have a side effect of lengthening the eyelashes.

After eight weeks, you will see longer and darker eyelashes and after 16 weeks, the full treatment period, you will surely be pleased and excited about the results.

There are a few little side effects but most people do not experience them. You might have some itchiness or irritation in your eyes or some redness in your eyes or eyelids. It will most likely be temporary but will certainly stop if you stop using Latisse. Do not use Latisse on the lower eyelids because it could cause extra hair growth beyond your eyelashes.

As with all products, as long as you follow the directions, you will get excellent results.

If you would like to schedule an appointment and learn more about Latisse, please contact our Baltimore eye care office today. We serve Lutherville and Towson also and will be happy to meet with you.

Cataract Risk Factors

It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that as our population ages, so does the number of people with cataracts. By definition, cataracts are the clouding of the eye lens to the extent that they affect vision. By the age of 80, more than half of all Americans have cataracts.

The elderly patients at Katzen Eye Group in the Baltimore area often have questions about the causes of cataracts when they begin hearing about friends and family members having cataract surgery. However, age-related cataracts are only one type. The others are:

  • Secondary Cataracts – can form after surgery for other ophthalmic diseases
  • Traumatic Cataracts – can develop after an eye injury
  • Congenital Cataracts – also known as “infantile cataracts,” these cataracts are present at birth
  • Radiation-inducted Cataracts – can form months and years after radiation exposure

The Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore and Lutherville, Maryland offer cataract treatment for people of all ages. Please schedule an appointment today so we can help you understand your cataract removal options.

Injectable Fillers

When skin loses fluids, wrinkles form. That’s where injectable fillers come in to save the day. Fillers are injected under the skin to fill in wrinkles, folds and sags. This non-surgical procedure plumps up the skin, making it appear more youthful. In just minutes, lips become more defined, laugh lines dissipate and crow’s feet dissolve.

How to Choose the Right Injectable Filler for You

Nonsurgical cosmetic fillers are gaining in popularity and as a result, many new types of fillers have hit the market. Choosing the right injectable filler for you is a combination of finding the right Aesthetic doctor who can evaluate the condition of your skin and learning more about the products, their ingredients and their particular facial target areas. Katzen Eye Group in the Baltimore area offers a wide selection of injectable fillers, including:

  • Restylane® – a synthetic biodegradable hyaluronic acid gel that results in a plump look in the injected area.
  • Radiesse® – made of a substance naturally found in bone and other parts of the body. This product targets Nasolabial Folds and wrinkles around the mouth and nose.
  • Juvéderm™ – a smooth gel made of a naturally occurring substance in your skin (hyaluronic acid) that when injected, will help add volume and hydration.

The eye doctors at Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore and Lutherville, Maryland can provide you with more information about injectable fillers. If you want to give your face a more youthful look, contact us today.

History of LASIK

LASIK, an acronym for Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, has revolutionized the vision correction industry. Although the idea that vision improvement could be made possible by flattening the cornea was proposed a century ago, it wasn’t until the 1930s that doctors tried cutting the cornea to change its shape.

Radial Keratotamy – the Predecessor to LASIK

At times, medical discoveries come about in the oddest of ways. A young physician leaves out a Petri dish while studying bacteria and voilà – Penicillin is born. Clinical trials on the drug Sildenafil don’t produce anticipated results for use on angina and hypertension, but when the male trial subjects are reluctant to return the unused pills that leads to the discovery of Viagra – an oral drug for male impotence. The story behind Radial Keratotamy is no less amazing.

A Russian doctor had been treating a young lad with cuts in his eyes from broken spectacles during a fall. The boy sustained only minor eye damage when the broken glass shaved a layer off the eye’s outer surface. When the previously near-sighted boy showed vision improvement, Dr. Svyatoslav Fyodorov became intrigued, eventually going on to publish his discoveries. American doctors later expanded upon Dr. Fyodorov’s discovery after obtaining research funding for the procedure.

A Brief LASIK Timeline in America

  • 1978 – American doctors realize the potential for coupling the Radial Keratotamy surgery with an Excimer laser
  • 1980 – the Excimer laser is first used by a doctor on other biological tissue
  • 1983 – a landmark paper is published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, outlining the potential for the Excimer laser use in refractive surgeries
  • 1989 – first patent for LASIK granted
  • 1992 – ten surgeons test the Visx laser at ten U.S. centers
  • 2000 – an estimated one million people undergo vision correction with LASIK

Please contact us if you’d like to consider LASIK. Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore and Lutherville, Maryland can answer your questions and evaluate your eyes for the procedure.

Symptoms and Signs of Glaucoma

Glaucoma, a group of conditions that cause optic nerve damage, often give few warning signs or symptoms until permanent damage has already occurred. For that reason, Baltimore area ophthalmologists at the Katzen Eye Group recommend having your eyes tested and examined every two years if you are under the age of 60, and every year thereafter. You’ll want to be tested more frequently if you have one or more of these glaucoma risk factors:

  • Diabetic or diagnosis of high blood pressure
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Over the age of 60
  • Steroid user
  • Eye injury patient
  • Severely near-sighted
  • African-American or older aged Hispanic

Common Types of Glaucoma and their Symptoms

Primary open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma are the two most familiar types of glaucoma. Each type has vastly different symptoms, which include:

Primary open-angle glaucoma

  • Peripheral vision, typically in both eyes, diminishes slowly
  • Tunnel vision will appear in advanced stages

Acute angle closure glaucoma

  • Headache (Particularly brow ache)
  • Acute eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting (in conjunction with the severe eye pain)
  • A sudden visual disturbance (often in low light)
  • Blurry vision
  • Halos around light
  • Eye reddening

The Mayo Clinic recommends that if you have two or more of these symptoms together that you seek immediate care at an emergency room or an ophthalmologist’s office.

Katzen Eye Group offers two locations in Maryland (Baltimore and Lutherville) for those in need of glaucoma screening and treatment. Let us take care of your vision needs by scheduling an appointment today.

Why an Ophthalmologist Should Do Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

You’ve heard the old adage: The Eyes are the Window to Your Soul. Yet, if your eyelids hang down over them and you constantly joke about the bags under your eyes being large enough to carry groceries in, then it’s time to make a change. The surgery you need is called Blepharoplasty, or more commonly eyelid surgery. However, this type of surgery pertains to more than just the eyelids; it can include all the delicate tissues surrounding the eyes that droop, sag or sink as you age.

When it’s time to give your eyes a more youthful appearance by tightening the skin around those “windows to your soul,” you may think a general plastic surgeon is the best person to call. However, an ophthalmologist with a specialty in Oculoplasty has the highest level of expertise and advanced training to work with these delicate tissues that are so important to your vision.

Blepharoplasty – Knowing Who to Call

Taking any risks with your eyes is never advised, so seeing an ophthalmologist who has the additional training as an oculoplastic surgeon is your best move. These specialists are trained to perform reconstructive surgery on the following conditions:

  • Aging eyelids or ptosis
  • Tear drainage problems
  • Eyelid malposition
  • Skin cancers of the eyelid
  • Eye socket problems – also called the orbit area
  • Anophthalmia – loss of an eye

Oculopastic surgeons at Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore and Lutherville, Maryland are better trained and qualified to perform your blepharoplasty procedure. If you are ready to revitalize your appearance and want the best care for your eyes, then please schedule an appointment today with Katzen Eye Group.

Cataract Surgery Home Care and Complications

Choosing the doctors at Katzen Eye Group for your cataract procedure was your first step toward a successful surgical outcome. Now that you’re recuperating at home, you’ll need to treat yourself just as gently as our ophthalmologists treated your eyes during surgery.

What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

Understanding what to expect after your cataract surgery will help you feel more at ease during your first few hours at home. You may experience the following symptoms, but know that they are completely normal and should dissipate in a few days:

  • Itching and mild discomfort
  • Some fluid discharge
  • Your eye may be sensitive to light and touch

Caring for Your Eyes after Cataract Surgery

Ophthalmologists at Katzen Eye Group will prescribe medication in the form of eye drops and ointment for you to apply regularly. Beyond that, you should protect your eyes at all times, gently clean your eyes morning and night with a sterile cotton ball or washcloth and avoid any extra pressure on the eyelids.

Complications – When to Call the Doctor

Complications are rare with cataract surgery, but they can happen, so just be aware of the signs that you need to call your doctor:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Inflammation that includes pain, redness, or swelling
  • Any loss of vision
  • Vomiting
  • Double vision

Please contact us today, if you are having vision difficulty due to cataracts. Our cataract surgery staff at Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore and Lutherville, Maryland can help improve your vision and ensure that you know what to do to protect your eyes after surgery.

How Long Does LASIK Last? LASIK Touch Ups

The lasting effects of LASIK have been studied since it gained widespread acceptance for vision correction in the year 2000, making it the most studied elective procedure. Studies have shown that 95 to 98 percent of laser vision correction patients obtain a minimum of 20/40 vision.

Once you’ve obtained that level of vision, can you maintain it? The answer is yes and no. Let’s look at what the typical LASIK surgery patient can expect as he or she moves immediately from post-op and on down through the years.

General Post-Operative Expectations

Three to six months after surgery, most patients find their vision has stabilized and they can now determine what their final vision will be.

Again, by the six month mark, patients should know the cumulative effect of the LASIK surgery and have stable vision. Visual acuity should remain fairly constant for the rest of life, assuming that cataracts or other age-related diseases don’t develop.

As you approach your forties, your near-sightedness will change, as it does even for those who never needed glasses or contacts. At this point, you’ll likely need some type of correction for reading.

Our LASIK surgeons at Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore and Lutherville, Maryland can help you with initial procedures, as well as LASIK touchups. Please contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Candidacy for Intraocular Lenses

The only treatment for cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s natural lens) is to have them removed by surgery. Fortunately, vision can be restored by implanting intraocular lenses (IOLs). If you’d like to regain clear vision by eliminating cataracts and preventing a reduction in eyesight, then cataract surgery should be considered.

Candidacy for IOLs
Several IOL options exist and your candidacy for each may differ from one to the other. However, generally you are a good candidate for intraocular lenses if:

  • You have healthy eyes, even if you have one or more cataracts
  • You have no cataracts, but have encountered problems with your near-vision
  • You have no medical conditions that would prevent an IOL insertion
  • You have had a prior LASIK procedure, but your eyes are otherwise healthy

Please contact the ophthalmologists at Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore and Lutherville, Maryland who specialize in intraocular lens placement, if you are suffering from cataracts and want to improve your vision.